Ralph Gibson Grünewald El Greco Cosmode

Posted by William Davies King on Sunday, April 15, 2018.

Mannerism. It is a term of art history that applies to a late Renaissance push beyond the harmony and balance of Italian ceiling painters like Michelangelo (you really want a stable ceiling!) and the humane portraitists (you really want to contain the imbalance of Leonardo). 

The Mannerists felt that art needed heightening and elongation,

torsion and coloration,

dyssymmetry and dyspepsia

to convey the superpower of religious message and its awkward fit on puny human form.

I came upon two books of El Greco and one of Matthias Grünewald,

and I knew I wanted my scissors to trace those stretched contours into the 20th century.

But landing where?

Another chance find was a book about Japanese cosplay with a how-to fashion orientation,

called Cosmode #1: The Glamour Issue.

In this world, kids go to great lengths to refit themselves

in the garb of anime or superhero or camp.

They heighten, they elongate, they anime-ate. Icon do!

Still no hall for these outspoken ones, no locality, no home.

Here we go, Light Years closer to here--a book of photos by Ralph Gibson,

another national imager, like Robert Frank, like Walker Evans.

More on the creaky shelf.





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